Mirah Ippolito: ‘L.A. will always be here unless there’s an earthquake’

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Mirah at Baltimore’s American Visionary Art Museum. (Photo courtesy: Mirah Ippolito)

Mirah Ippolito
Baltimore, Maryland

“One of my friends, who is struggling, told me you can always come back — you know that’s actually what she says.”

After going to film school at USC, Mirah could simply not find good work in film and television. “Every entry level opportunity is an unpaid internship and most of the people I know now are in their mid to late twenty’s and they are completely dependent on their parents to pay their rent and support them in some way. I just didn’t see that as a sustainable lifestyle for myself “

In Baltimore, she can write more and live rent-free with her parents. “I feel that it is a lot easier too make things and be creative on a smaller local level and I don’t feel like my creative output is totally dependent on the whims of other people like I did when I was in Los Angeles.”

And L.A.’s expensive: “I was living in Pasadena, which is like the most boring neighborhood on earth,” said Mirah. “Housing is so expensive in L.A. that I was actually living in a two bedroom with a young married couple from a grad program and so by having three people in a two bedroom we saved a lot of money.”

Mirah Classic Baltimore bench-corner of Park Heights and Northern Parkway (1)
“The Greatest City in America” replaced the old slogan, “The City That Reads” on benches found all over Baltimore. (Photo courtesy: Mirah Ippolito) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

What do you miss?

The food. I miss the food all the time. Trying to get good Mexican food on the East Coast is a nightmare. I can’t say that I miss the traffic because the Baltimore-Washington D.C. area traffic is basically the same so that hasn’t really changed. But I miss the weather. I miss my friends.

What is a reasonable expectation for life as a 25-year-old?

I think it should not be unreasonable that if you go to school for a specific skill that you should be able to find work more easily that will allow you to do things just like buy your groceries, you know go out have fun once in a while.

Mirah - baltimore view of inner harbor from Federal Hill Park
A view of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor from Federal Hill Park. (Photo courtesy: Mirah Ippolito) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

When you see your friends in other places and they have retirement accounts and they’re starting to get married and have kids and they’re buying property and all the of trappings of adult life. It’s very difficult to reconcile that with the arrested development –  you know going to the vegan cafe in the morning – lifestyle I was living in L.A.

Would you ever go back?

Yes under the right circumstances. You know it’s at the point where I don’t want to feel like I’m so heavily dependent on other people to have a career there. So if I were ever in a position where I wrote something and somebody else wanted it I would go back but I’m not going to like force my work on anyone else anymore it’s just it’s just he spends as much time building and they talked about that that my program you spend as much time building a brand for yourself as you do actually writing and being a creative person like one who has a creative output.

This is part of a series looking at why people are choosing to move out of Los Angeles. Are you leaving Southern California? Share your story!